Moyes says Mourinho made Europa Conference League feel 'important'

David Moyes praises Jose Mourinho for making Europa Conference League glory feel ‘important’ ahead of opening semi-final against AZ Alkmaar… as he sets his sights on winning West Ham’s first European silverware in 58 YEARS

  • Mourinho’s Roma side won the inaugural competition in Tirana last year
  • As the season draws to a close Moyes says players are peaking at the right time 
  • West Ham host AZ Alkmaar in London: How to watch, start time and team news 

David Moyes has cited Roma coach Jose Mourinho for helping to show how ‘important’ winning the Europa Conference League can be, as West Ham prepare to face AZ Alkmaar in their opening semi-final match in the tournament on Thursday evening. 

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager won the inaugural competition in 2022 with his Roma side and in doing so, become only the second manager in history to win five major European titles. 

Adding the trophy to their cabinet has proved crucial to boosting Roma’s prospects in both the domestic league and abroad, with the Serie A side hungry to win their second consecutive European cup as they contest in the Europa League. 

Mourinho was so proud of becoming the only coach to win all three European trophies he had the three cups inked on his shoulder to commemorate the feat. 

Moyes said that the fellow ex-Manchester United manager’s fervour for glory in the competition was something he was keen to emulate. 

Jose Mourinho’s Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League title in 2022 after beating Feyenoord in Tirana

David Moyes (left) praised the manager for showing how ‘important’ the new trophy can be

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s first-leg clash at the London Stadium, Moyes said that getting to the tournament’s final in Prague could be his ‘best one’.  

‘I was fortunate to get to a Champions League quarter-final with Manchester United, lost on penalties in the quarter-final of the Europa League with Everton and last year we reached a semi-final (of the Europa League) here at West Ham,’ the manager told reporters. 

‘I want to try and take it a couple of steps further, and I would refer back to the serial winner Jose Mourinho – who found winning this trophy so special for him and his football club. 

‘If ever I needed someone to show how hard it is, it would be Jose. He treated it as if it was so important, there’s no way we’re treating it any less than that.’ 

Moyes’ side are coming into stronger form as the season draws to a close, having seemingly escaped the relegation battle the side were mired in with a flinty draw against Arsenal and a snatched 1-0 win against United on Sunday. 

Their place in the semi-final was sealed with a jubilant 4-1 home win against Gent which featured a dazzling run from Declan Rice that saw him get on the scoresheet in one of his most memorable performances in claret and blue. 

The Scottish manager praised his side for playing their ‘best stuff’ at the business end of the season and with trophies on the line. 

It remains to be seen whether Moyes would commit to an equally permanent tribute should West Ham triumph in the final  

West Ham’s spirit-raising display against Gent in their second quarter-final gave the fans hope

West Ham have gone without European silverware since 1965, when they beat 1860 Munich to clinch the European Cup Winners’ Cup. 

The promise of bringing a trophy back to east London has captured the hearts and minds of players and fans alike, with talented forward Jarrod Bowen receiving constant pressure from the actor father of his girlfriend Dani Dyer, Danny – a famous fans of the Hammers. 

‘The missus’s old man is obviously on at me every week,’ Bowen said on Wednesday. ‘For everyone, the whole club, it’s not been a great season but staying in the Premier League and bringing home a trophy for the fans would be a good end to a bad season.

‘That’s our aim. That’s our ambition. There’s still a long way to go, but of course we want to win the competition.’

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